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Barcelona have finally called time on Ronald Koeman’s reign as manager following a sustained period of uncertainty for the Dutch boss. The Catalan giants’ shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Rayo Vallecano was the final nail in the coffin for Koeman.
Barcelona have had a woeful start to the season, winning just four of their opening 10 La Liga matches, leaving them in ninth with only 15 points.
The club released a short statement on their official website which reads: “FC Barcelona have relieved Ronald Koeman of his duties as first team coach.
“The president of the club, Joan Laporta, informed him of the decision after the defeat against Rayo Vallecano. Ronald Koeman will say goodbye to the squad on Thursday at the Ciutat Esportiva.
“FC Barcelona wishes to thank him for his service to the Club and wishes him all the best in his professional career.”
Express Sport has taken a look at four potential options to replace the former defender.
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Club legend Xavi is the favourite to become the new manager at the Camp Nou.
Xavi is currently in charge of Al Sadd in Qatar but has reportedly already been in talks with Barcelona.
The 41-year-old played out the final years of his career with the Qatari club, before taking up the manager’s post in 2019.
Since then, Xavi has guided Al Sadd to the league title last season and two Qatar Cup titles, while they are currently 34 games unbeaten.
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When asked about a potential return to Barcelona earlier this month, the former club captain didn’t rule himself out.
“Any offer will be evaluated and then a decision will be made,” Xavi told TVE.
“I don’t know where my future will take me, but I’m open to anything.”
Although Xavi is the clear favourite at present, there are plenty of other names being considered for the role.
Current River Plate boss Gallardo has been with the Argentine giants since 2014, where he has two Copa Libertadores titles to his name, among others.
Gallardo’s current deal with River runs until December and his long-term future at the club remains uncertain.
While Gallardo continues to be linked with the post, the River legend distanced himself from the role earlier this month.
“I’m only focused on River,” he said. “Everyone knows that I want to fulfill my current contract and I’ve no reason to change my mind. If Barça contacted me? Makes no sense to answer this question…”.
If Barcelona are looking for an interim coach, then Barjuan is certainly an option for that.
Barjuan is currently in charge of Barcelona B, where the club are languishing in the bottom half of their regional division in the third tier.
The former left-back has plenty of La Liga experience as a player after spending the majority of his career with Barcelona, before moving to Atletico Madrid to see out his playing days.
Barjuan has also managed the likes of Recreativo Huelva, Almeria, Mallorca and Chinese club Zhejiang Greentown.
The Belgium boss is a surprise contender for the role, although is still said to be on the managerial shortlist.
Martinez has been with Belgium for five years after having left Everton in 2016 following a three-year spell at the club.
The Spaniard has next to no experience in La Liga as a player, while he also has none as a manager.
Martinez’s Belgium side are one game away from qualifying for the World Cup and the former Everton boss is expected to lead the country in Qatar next winter.
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